Getting Your Own Authority in 2023

Running your own authority is not all fun and games.  It's work.  For that work you enjoy a larger piece of the pie.  However, you have to love the work.  Otherwise you won't like eating that pie!

Yes there is still plenty of money out there by going all the way in.  Just talked to a friend of mine today who is doing very well. He doesn't even have his own direct shippers yet. To make more money as an owner operator you have to get your own authority and find your own freight to haul.  Meanwhile you can use brokers from the loadboard as he does.

This means that you will be handling much more of the business part of trucking. It also means that you cut out the middle man, since you will be going directly to shippers and receivers or using load matching services (load boards, apps, brokers) to find freight.

It's more money for more work and responsibility.  Which equates to time.  This is the route you would most likely go if you are planning to buy more than 1 truck and hire drivers. 

In essence, starting a real trucking company with multiple trucks and drivers.  It's also the route that you must go to make real money in the trucking industry as a business owner and not just a driver.

If you hear of truckers consistently getting paid $2, $3 or more dollars per mile, this is how they are doing it. Not as an owner operator leased on to a company and not as a lease driver with a trucking company. There are too many people in the food chain and hands in the pot when leased on to a carrier which limits profit.  

Not that it's a bad thing necessarily, they (the hands in the pot) are handling a significant amount of responsibility and office work in most cases, so should be compensated. But there be careful, some brokers try to charge too high of a percentage of what the load pays.  More than 20% is too much and 10% is more common.

But if you're ready to take on that cold calling, negotiating rates, keeping up with all paperwork aspect of the business, there is no reason that you should pay others to do it once you build up customers. 

In fact if you have a spouse at home with free time or tired of her/his job, teach them the administrative and salesperson work and pay them salary.  Then you're ready to grow your trucking company if desired.  You can be the company that allows owner operators to run under your authority, dispatch them and get the 10% - 20% from what they earn.  Depending on what all services you are going to provide.

Now you see how that works?  But that's down the road, lol.

Steps in Getting Your Authority

Here are some steps that you would need to take to get your own authority. The entire process to full authorization should be between 4-6 weeks after filing the applications

  • Decide if you will be a sole proprietor or LLC
  • Obtain an EIN from the IRS to do business.
  • download forms or apply online to get your own authority Registration and licensing forms – OP1(MCC#) – BOC-3 and USDOT #

    Step 1: Submit OP1 (or OP1(b) or OP1(ff) You will Receive MCC #

    Step 2: 10 Day waiting period. (get insurance while waiting)

  • Get your truck insurance (Liability and Cargo)

  • Step 3: Your insurance will file proof of insurance with FMCSA (MCS - 90 or MCS - 90b)

  • Step 4: Process Agent file BOC-3 with FMCSA

  • Step 5: You will soon get your operating authority permit

If you will be hauling hazmat, you will need to go here

Now it's time for the state requirements

  • Uniform Carrier Registration Fees
  • IFTA for trucks over 26,000 lbs go to your states D.O.T.
  • IRP - Your State D.O.T. (Heavy Vehicle Use tax must be paid)
  • Single State Registration - Contact your state D.O.T.
  • Drug and Alcohol Testing Compliance, Dot Physical
  • Heavy Vehicle Use Tax - paid before getting your IRP (great site for doing it

One day maybe buy more trucks, get more drivers.

The reason you want to get a business address is to use it when applying for EIN and registration for your authority. The information you give for your authority is public information for all to see.

If you expand and become known and wealthy, as you know, you also become a target for all types of people. So, this is not necessary but advised, especially if your intention is to grow. You can also set up a LLC

As you may have learned, there are 2 types of 'for hire' operating authorities.

  • Contract authority is when you will haul for specific shippers by contractual agreements.
  • Common authority is when you are available to haul freight for whoever shows you the money.

Both requires $750,000 minimum ($1,000,000 recommended) liability or (Bodily Injury & Property Damage) insurance. Common Carrier authority also needs Cargo insurance ($100,000 recommended) unless you only haul low value goods, in which case an exemption will need to be filed.... 49 CFR 387.301(b) call here to get cargo exemption form 202-366-9805

You need insurance within 2 weeks of filing.

Both common and contract requires Cargo insurance if the freight includes household goods.

I applied for my authority and haven't heard anything
Owner Operator
What is a Lease Operator
Getting your own authority

Growing Your Trucking Company

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Some Skills That You'll Need

  • Negotiating Rates (Pay)
  • Managing People (if you grow your company)
  • Managing Time (Especially as driver and running the operation)
  • Dispatching - Coordinating Loads
  • Critical Thinking
  • Problem Solving (Loads, People, Broker Relations, etc)
  • Money Management
  • General Administrative Duties
  • Communicating effectively
  • Planning

Some Things to Consider

OOIDA is an organization for owner operators and they have a lot of educational and information like this video.  You can find them at

The benefits of getting your own authority is freedom and more money.  The burden is more responsibility and liability.
Get Your Own Authority

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New! Comments

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Help with getting authority set up

It'ss time consuming and delicate work to set up your own authority.

You will need to do a lot of reading to make sure that you have dotted your T's and crossed your I's.

If you are someone who won't follow through to the end to get set up and you have the money to spare, there are services that will charge you to help set up your authority and make sure you are in compliance.

If you are going to get your own authority, it is good to be in the loop of what is going on in the trucking industry.

- is a professional organization for owner operators. It offers a lot of industry services and benefits.

ATA is another organization that has many benefits for small trucking operations.

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